John 9:1-3 – As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
So often, the hearts of men can not see beyond the pleasantness or unpleasantness of circumstances. Jesus’ disciples saw a man born blind, and they immediately assumed that his circumstances were a punishment from God. Their only confusion was whether or not the man was being punished, or the man’s parents. So, you can imagine their surprise when Jesus told them that his blindness was no punishment at all.
Jesus made it plain, when speaking about the blind man, that he had been born blind in order that the works of God might be revealed in him. This man had a condition that relegated him to beggar status. He was looked down on by the society around him. People felt sorry for him, but they assumed that he had somehow earned his misfortune or was paying for the evil of his parents. But no one saw the bigger picture. No one but Jesus could simply see that this man’s weakness, his struggle, his disability was the means whereby God was going to show his glory.
In your life and in mine, I would guess that we all have things that we do not like. Perhaps you have some sort of disability. Perhaps you have some sort of problem you wish you did not have. Maybe you are not as smart as you wish you were. Maybe you are not shaped in the way you want to be. Perhaps you can not speak in front of groups, can’t sing, or can’t do math. Or, perhaps you have really tragic circumstances that have surrounded you for all of your life. If so, now would be the time to recognize that Jesus’ words to his disciples is applicable to you too. Your weaknesses exist, not as a punishment for your parents’ sin, but as a means whereby God can display his glory.
In my own life, I deal with blindness; so this story is closer to home for me than for many. Just like the man in this story, I recognize, because of the teaching of Jesus, that my own limitations exist, not as a punishment, but as an opportunity for God to be glorified. If everything about my life was easy and perfect, people might tend to glorify me when good things happen. If I preach a good sermon or write a clever blog (a rare occurrence to be sure), people could look at me and think that I am just talented. However, when people recognize that I am blind and still do what I do, they often recognize that God has done something amazing in my life. He has given me the tools that I need in order to be used by him. He shows himself to be strong through my weaknesses. He accomplishes the work, people see that fact, and God is glorified. And, so , I am willing to happily live with my limitations, because it is better to be used to glorify God in your weaknesses than it would be to have no weaknesses and only glorify yourself.
Today, look at your life and recognize that your weaknesses are there. This is no call to think, “O boy, I’m so glad I have this problem.” But, it would be a fine time to recognize that your struggles, your weaknesses, your circumstances serve as an opportunity for you to glorify God as you trust him and allow him to accomplish his will through you anyway. Remember, we do not live for the comforts of this life. We were created by God for his glory, and we are most satisfied in life when we do what we were created to do. So, allow God to glorify himself through your weaknesses, and find your heart satisfied, even in the midst of trying circumstances and personal weaknesses.
Dear Lord, I know that this message is a tough one for many to hear, but I pray that you will help it to make sense. You created us for your glory. Nothing will satisfy our souls so much as when we glorify your name. I pray that you will be glorified in my life, even through the circumstances that are difficult. Show yourself strong in my weaknesses. Use me, in whatever way you desire, to bring honor to your name and to expand your Kingdom for your glory.